Smokey conditions cause Valley school districts to cancel outdoor activities

LEWISTON, ID - Many people are frustrated throughout the Valley with these smokey conditions continue to cloud the region.

"I'll just be happy when the air clears," said Lewiston School District Assistant Superintendent Bob Donaldson.

Many people are forced to stay indoors as smoke continues to impact the region due to fires burning in both Central Washington and Idaho.

Both the Lewiston and Clarkston School Districts canceled all outdoor physical education classes, recess and athletics for the day after the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare issued an unhealthy air quality alert advising schools to keep students indoors.

"I think for the most part out parents and patrons would like us to making decisions that assure the safety of the kids," said Donaldson.

According to the National Weather Service the air quality remains unhealthy in Clearwater and Idaho Counties and is expected to remain in effect until further notice. Valley residents expressed their frustration noting that they've never seen the area this hazy.

"You can usually see all the way out to the grade and now you can't," said L.C. Valley resident Nick Lepire. "The visibility is certainly something that's..I haven't ever seen it this smokey."

"It's making it harder for my son to breath and he's got asthma," said L.C. Valley resident Joe Vinci. "The whole time I've lived here I've never seen it this smokey."

An unhealthy air quality rating means people only have 1.5 to three miles of visibility.

"It's kind of irritating to breath, or it's not as comfortable as you'd be on a regular day in the Lewiston Valley," said Vinci.

"I would say stay indoors, drink beer..I mean drink a lot of water and you'll be fine," said L.C. Valley resident Mark Ritzenthaler.

The Idaho Department of Welfare also advises people to refrain from outdoor vigorous activities including running, jogging, football, soccer and basketball.

People still using air conditioners to turn their units to "recycle" mode so no outside air is drawn indoors.